The European Space Agency has made its selection for the next Large Mission to be flown by ESA, with a launch window in about 2022
and the winner is… JUICE
Jupiter moons orbiter.
Formerly known as Laplace.
The losers were ATHENA – a descoped version of IXO, the third version of the next generation x-ray observatory, and, NGO, aka eLISA – the descoped version of the much beloved LISA, the long proposed space based gravitational wave observatory.
Some residual funding for x-ray optics, and laser systems will be provided to provide technological readiness for future mission opportunities.
The NGO science team is to be disbanded immediately, I hear.
Don’t know if ATHENA will retain some science definition team.
This is a big blow to space based astrophysics.
NGO appears to have got the highest science rating but was nuked by concerns raised about technological readiness.
Space based astrophysical science is looking to be in for a rough decade.